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Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development Shares Positive Research on NEPA


Plains Twp., PA State Sen. John Yudichak knows that the value of the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development goes beyond gathering information, calculating statistics and monitoring trends.


The institute held its 2017 Indicators Report on Thursday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The 12th annual Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties Indicators Report tracks data and trends that are critical to the region’s future. The project measures the region’s progress over time on key economic, education, public safety, health and human services, environment and infrastructure measures portraying the quality of life in our region.


The indicators have been produced annually by the institute since 2006.


“We live in the age of data,” Yudichak said. “There is more information at our fingertips than ever before, but the institute is a powerful force that cuts through the clutter and helps community leaders shape policy with relevant and accurate data.”


Yudichak said good policy is driven by good data, adding that the Institute has quickly become a leading research organization in Pennsylvania that can turn data driven research into tangible progress in our communities.


Following a two-hour presentation before more than 150 NEPA economy drivers, Ooms went over how the region stacks up against other areas. She said NEPA is above average in two key areas:


Diverse and resilient economy — Growth conducive to business and innovation and able to withstand periods of recession.

Healthy and prosperous families — Residents are safe from violence, in good health, sufficiently educated and have enough income to be financially secure.


Ooms said the Indicators Report provides a wealth of social, environment and economic data that contributes to building civic agendas by providing a common information base for policy makers, nonprofit leaders and civic entrepreneurs.


Teri Ooms, Executive Director of The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, speaks at the Lackawanna and Luzerne Regional Indicators Forum on Thursday Morning at the Mohegan Sun Pocono.


“This thought provoking document sets a solid baseline as to where the region has been, where we are and where we are going,” Ooms said. “The most important outcome should be the resulting dialogue that stimulates specific action in moving this region forward, in a thoughtful way and drives future priorities to improve conditions needing special attention.”


State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca, said the very thorough data provided by the the institute offers significant good news for Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.


“While work remains to be done, our region is generally on the right track thanks to the collective efforts of many community leaders,” Carroll said. “I’m hopeful more people will step forward to add their talents on behalf of our region.”


Wico Van Genderen, chief executive officer at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, said Thursday’s program showed forward-moving momentum.


“As a whole, we are seeing positive trends in job growth, particularly in the STEM sectors, a steady decrease in unemployment, an increase in private investment in the community, a decrease in crime and an increase in career education and tech training in our workforce,” Van Genderen said. “Certainly, we have our issues, but using the institute’s data driven economic trackers, we are showing progress in the four pillars that make for a strong community.”


Van Genderen said the work of the institute provides a data driven strategy and execution plan which pinpoints the heavy lifting in economic development, community and quality of life, but also helps ensure that those efforts reinforce the trends to continue in the right direction and ensure sustainability.


Report Findings:


Education & Workforce Development 

  •  High number of job openings in transportation and warehousing jobs 



  • Natural gas more cost-effective in the region; land, transportation, labor costs, supply chain network, and taxes make region overall more competitive to energy intensive businesses


Diverse and Resilient Economy

  • A region’s economy exhibits growth, is conducive to business and innovation, and is able to withstand periods of recession


 Healthy and Prosperous Families.

  • A region’s residents are safe from violence, in good health, sufficiently educated, and have enough income to be financially secure


Investment in Physical Assets and the Environment

  • A region’s physical attributes, including housing stock and public infrastructure, are well maintained, and environmental resources are well cared for.


Civic Engagement & Community Ties

  • The region’s residents are engaged as members of a community with a strong sense of citizenship and high social capital.



O’Boyle, Bill. "Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development shares its research." Times Leader. Times Leader, 11 May 2017. Web. 12 May 2017. <>.

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